Here we are, at the end of yet another whirlwind year.
At the start of 2022, the world continued to grapple with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, but also saw major progress with vaccines and other developments. In a move that set off a humanitarian and energy crisis, Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine. Inflation surged, and families faced difficult choices as the high cost of living hit everything from grocery stores and gas pumps to the housing market. Widespread drought, hurricanes, record-breaking heat waves, and devastating flooding all marked the signs of a changing climate.
In the United States, a series of mass shootings — from a supermarket in Buffalo to an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas — spurred cries for gun control. The House Jan. 6 committee investigating the violent Capitol insurrection held public hearings, and concluded its work by recommending Donald Trump face criminal charges. In a blockbuster ruling, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
The midterm elections resulted in Republicans taking the House, but Democrats largely fended off the anticipated “red wave,” and, soon after, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she was stepping down from her leadership role.
There was drama at the Academy Awards. Many notable figures died, including Queen Elizabeth II. Elon Musk acquired Twitter. Brittney Griner was freed from Russian detention. The Winter Olympics in Beijing kicked off the year, while the World Cup in Qatar closed it out.
The state was also thrown into the national spotlight when 49 migrants were flown to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Maura Healey became the first woman and first openly LGBTQ person elected Massachusetts governor. Even the Prince and Princess of Wales came to Boston, where they met with local officials and residents, and pushed for climate action.
With the year drawing to a close, we took a look back at the stories that resonated with readers the most.
These are the Globe’s most popular stories of 2022.
Following an unprecedented level of success, Tom Brady officially announced in February that he was stepping away from football. At the time, he was walked away from the NFL with a record seven Super Bowl titles and three league MVP awards. Although his retirement turned out to be temporary — and fairly short at that — he shared the news via a statement on social media, just days after reports circulated that he was planning to retire. He touched on his love for football and thanked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and its fans. Noticeably absent from his statement? Any mention of the Patriots, the team he played on for 20 seasons.
After a brief retirement, Tom Brady announced in March that he was heading back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to play his 23rd NFL season at age 45. But if Brady had his way, he would have been leading — and maybe even quarterbacking — one of the Patriots’ division rivals. So how did this dramatic turnaround unfold? His fascinating change of heart was the result of series of unforeseen events involving the Miami Dolphins, Sean Payton, Brian Flores’s class-action lawsuit, former Patriots offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, and a Manchester United soccer match.
Seeking relationship advice, a letter writer reached out to Meredith Goldstein about an “emotionally complicated” situation: after more than two decades of being divorced from a man she once considered her “knight in shining armor,” her ex-husband wanted to know if she could find it her heart to forgive him and reconnect. Despite becoming friends, the writer was having some hesitations — and noted her ex was difficult to avoid since they share a dozen grandchildren. Goldstein told her to check in with him about his intentions. “Talking about what you want saves so much time,” she said.
Three Republican senators received backlash in March following a presentation given by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to more than 300 members of Congress. During the meeting, which was conducted via Zoom and marked the first time Zelensky addressed both chambers of Congress since Russia invaded Ukraine, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Montana Senator Steve Daines shared images of Zelensky on the call. Other lawmakers said they had been asked to not share information publicly, while some wondered if the senators had compromised the safety of Zelensky. During the call, Zelensky also reportedly asked Florida Senator Rick Scott to mute himself.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin placed his vast nuclear arsenal on high alert following his invasion of Ukraine, questions arose about how prepared the United States is in the event of an attack. Ronald Reagan launched the Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983, amid fears about a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. But more than $200 billion spent by the US military and nearly four decades later, experts said the missile defense shield produced by all that money and effort isn’t very effective. Experts said the ability to defend against a Russian attack is practically nonexistent, and the US system is no match for what Russia would launch.
Following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the Globe started a live blog that provided updates on what was happening with the war, including documenting how Russian troops faced resistance from Ukrainian forces as major cities were threatened and Ukrainian residents fled. The last update was in April, when the European Union expelled a number of Russian diplomats from Belgium. But the Globe has continued its coverage of the war, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent visit to the United States. During his visit to Washington, he met with President Biden and addressed Congress in a bid to shore up more support for Ukraine.
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Globe kicked off a live blog that provided the latest COVID-19 news from across the country, the world, and the state. Throughout the course of the pandemic, the blog has been updated in real time, highlighting everything from the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to the newest policy measures and updates on vaccines and treatments. The blog has served as both a resource for readers and a comprehensive look at how the pandemic has progressed over time.
A longtime reader of Meredith Goldstein’s column reached out to get her take on a theory the letter writer had come up with: at age 30, all men seem to fall into one of three categories. The first group included men who married partners they’d been dating for a long time; the second group was comprised of men who recently broke up with their long-term partners; and the third group was single men unable to pursue a relationship. Goldstein, however, countered that while 30 is a complicated age, she does not believe you can simply file all 30-year-old single men into three categories. Among other advice, she encouraged the writer to date people who aren’t her age.
As of July, the state Department of Public Health began reporting coronavirus cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and vaccination data once per week — down from five days per week. The Globe breaks down this data to readers through a number of charts and graphics based on the most recent reports, to demonstrate how Massachusetts is faring in the battle against the coronavirus. The graphics take a state- and county-level view of what’s happening.
The Globe’s most-read story of the year was about a group of boys at Davisville Middle School in Rhode Island who started a “Pedo Database” in January 2021 to document how a teacher harassed girls in their class. The boys said they saw the North Kingstown teacher leer at girls and single them out with pet nicknames. One student who spoke with the Globe said adults didn’t take them seriously when they raised concerns. In April, the teacher was escorted out of the school. Interim Superintendent Michael Waterman announced he had placed a teacher on leave and was launching an investigation into allegations the teacher stalked a pre-teen girl at the middle school and had been inappropriate with others. The mother of the boy who spoke with the Globe contacted the lawyer who made the accusations, Timothy J. Conlon, and now the “Pedo Database” is part of the investigation.